The Avengers assemble at NYCC with new footage!

NY Comic Con is a smaller affair than the borderline-overwhelming San Diego version in every way - but there's one thing it had this year that its big brother didn't: THE AVENGERS! While many were surprised that Disney and Marvel didn't bring their surefire 2012 summer blockbuster to SDCC, the folks who attended NYCC - including yours truly - were lucky enough to get an exclusive sneak peek at the Joss Whedon-directed superhero adventure. And here's how it went down:

First, moderator Chris Hardwicke introduces a few of the people involved with the AVENGERS on stage: Chris Evans (Cpt. America), Tom Hiddleston (Loki), Mark Ruffalo (Bruce Banner/The Incredible Hulk), Clark Gregg (Agent Coulson), Cobie Smulders (Maria Hill) and Kevin Feige (President of Production, Marvel Studios). Then, the teaser trailer is shown, which you've undoubtedly seen more than a few times by now. The cast talks a little bit, but then we get down to business: a never-before-scene clip and mini-trailer that Joss Whedon evidently cut just for New York Comic Con. After deafening applause fills the room, the lights dim and this is what we see:

The setting is a run-down city in India. A small girl runs through the streets and arrives at a house. After entering with pleas to see the doctor, we realize that this is Bruce Banner's abode. The girl tells him her father is sick, holds out some money, and convinces him to follow her.

After Banner and the girl arrive at a remote shack, the girl scampers out of a window, and it's immediately clear to Banner that he's been fooled. He hears a voice from behind him; turning, he sees Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson), looking as good as ever. Banner compliments her on getting him to the edge of the city, then asks if there are armed men outside, but she tells him they're alone. She says she's there on behalf of S.H.I.E.L.D. and they want his help. (After mentioning that they've been monitoring him for two years; incidentally the last time he's transformed into the Hulk.)

Romanoff informs him there's the potential for a global catastrophe, and they need Banner to help locate a "tesseract" that's been stolen. This tesseract emits a gamma signal that's too small for S.H.I.E.L.D. to trace, but no one knows gamma radiation like Banner. Banner is dubious, gets angry and asks if Nick Fury is going to put him in a cage. He gets so angry so suddenly that Romanoff pulls a gun on him, but Banner assures her that he's sorry: "That was me," he says, indicating that "the other guy" isn't about to emerge. (Banner refers to the Hulk as "the other guy" a couple of times.) Banner asks Romanoff to put down the gun; she does and then, into a radio, she says "stand down." Cut to a birds-eye view of the hut as a horde of armed agents slowly back off.

The clip ends, and then we're thrust into a brief trailer: It starts with an aerial shot of the Stark Building in New York City as a helicopter lands on it. Then a voice over of Tony Stark as he breaks down the group. "Let's do a head count," he says. "A couple of master assassins, a demi-god, a living legend who kind of lives up to the legend." Of course during this little speech we get various shots of Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Black Widow, Thor and Captain America in action. (Although it's all cut together so fast it's tough to make out anything too distinctly.)

Stark continues: "And you, big fella, have managed to piss off every single one of them." It turns out that Stark is talking to Loki. "I have an army," Loki growls to him. Then the screen cuts to black and we see the Avengers logo... A brief scene follows: Stark zaps Banner, who is working, with a little stun gun. He asks Banner if he has a "lid on it" and wonders what his secret (for containing the Hulk) is, mellow jazz? Captain America asks Stark if everything is a joke to him. Stark replies: "Funny things are." Cut to black.

That was the last of the footage. Then a prolonged Q+A session followed with most of the questions coming from the audience (and many of the questions were in the "who is your favorite superhero" or "what was it like wearing the costume" vein). But here are a few choice moments that I thought were worthy of sharing:

- Kevin Feige said they're currently in prep on IRON MAN 3, which he considers "Phase 2" of Avengers Assemble. Hopefully, it will all ultimately lead to AVENGERS 2. (Earlier, Chris Evans made a reference to AVENGERS 2 as well, although I suppose it was inevitable that a sequel would be in the cards.)

- There will definitely be a post-credits scene in AVENGERS, just as in the other films.

- Mark Ruffalo, after joking that Bruce Banner/Incredible Hulk is the Hamlet of his generation (considering the several actors who have played the character), says that Banner in this film is a more "mature" Banner who "understands a little bit what he has under the hood". He also says that while he pays homage to the other actors who have played the part, he had to "Ruffalize" it. ("Ruffalize" is used a few more times during the panel by the group.)

- Ruffalo is proud of the fact that he's the first actor to play both Banner and the Hulk. He was there on set with the other actors as the Hulk in "gray pajamas".

- In terms of costumes, Hiddleston was willing to offer himself up as having the most uncomfortable outfit. Lots of "steel and leather", and apparently he's never out of it, while some of the other actors got jeans and t-shirt days.

- Hiddleston (who it must be said received the majority of the questions; it seems obvious to me that he was the most popular person on the stage by far) says that at the end of THOR, Loki was not happy, and was confused about his place in the universe. In AVENGERS, Loki knows who he is now, and is a very bad man. (Or god, as it were). In addition, Loki has a fight scene with almost every member of the Avengers. Hiddleston said that Loki has to adapt his fighting style for each hero: His fight with Captain America is "rough and tumble", there's more brotherly brawling between Loki and Thor, and Loki even goes up again the Hulk. (He gets "Ruffalized".) Tony Stark "has his day, too", Hiddleston said. He was not able to pick a favorite smackdown, however.

- Clark Gregg joked about how he learned he was always finding out he was going to be in the next Marvel movie in offhand ways: They told him to mention New Mexico in IRON MAN 2, and when he asked why, they told him he's going to be in THOR. Then he met Joss Whedon at Comic Con last year, and Whedon informed him there that he was going to be in AVENGERS.

- Chris Evans, under pressure from a fan, chose playing Captain America over The Human Flame - although he maintains that he loved shooting the FANTASTIC FOUR movies.

- Apparently, the cast had an amazing night the first night they were all in New Mexico, although a lot of the experience is foggy, one distinct memory was Chris Hemsworth and Chris Evans comparing muscles.

In general, all of them seemed genuinely thrilled about their place in THE AVENGERS, and their appearance at Comic Con (for Smulders, it was her first, and she seemed slightly overwhelmed). There was no shortage of reverence for Joss Whedon (who is currently editing the movie, hence his absence), and everybody - including Hiddleston - seemed confidant that they'd be involved with the Marvel movie universe for years to come.

Extra Tidbit: THE AVENGERS opens on MAY 4, 2012.
Source: JoBlo.com



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